Tired of the same old boring-boring and looking for a new Surfer-Ska-Pop Boy Band to hitch your bandwagon to? Then look no further than Emblem3, three boys from California who got their big break on The X-Factor who are taking the nation (the nation's tweens at least) by storm. Last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend their sold-out concert in Boston and it was one of the most unique concert experiences I've ever had.
If you are not familiar with Emblem3 (that's them above this text in case you haven't guessed) I suggest you use the video below to familiarize yourself as while they have all the making of a Pop sensation, they also do it with, down to earth, and surprisingly unique and hilarious style. The following video is of their initial try-out on Fox's X-Factor (which the placed 4th place), which launched them from Cali nobodies to the stars of 13-17 year old girls dreams:
As you can see, they are very Cali-Surfer-Bro, yet have all the making to be an adored pop sensation. Let's get into the concert tho.
The date, Sunday March 24th. I had just gotten back from my Spring Break Trip to University of Vermont in Burlington, VT (Shouts out to Steph Mackevich for being a wonderful host). Me and Ellen (also Shouts out to Ellen for getting tix to the sold out show) headed off campus at about 6:15 hoping to reach the venue at 7pm (when the show was supposed to start), and thus began my bizarre and magical night.
When we first walked into the venue we were hit with a very strong wall of tweenage female shrieking...at the opening act (some guy with a guitar who called himself Sam James). I immediately curled over laughing as this was already more than I had bargained for and imagining what the sound would be like for Emblem3 if Sam James got this. After about 2 minutes of laughing and 2 more minutes of catching my breath I went and got a beer (I'm 21, don't worry Moms and Dads) to assert my dominance over the mostly underage crowd.
The next thing I noticed about the show was the demographics of the crowd. Statistically, your average concert goer is a white male aged 17 to 25, and pretty much every concert of every genre I've been to has been made up of mostly this crowd (Notable exception were The-Dream and Ludacris). This crowd however was probably 85% tweenage females, 4% Moms, 5% Dads and 6% Other (i.e. Me, Ellen, and the few other college age Emblems in the crowd (btw, Emblem3 calls their fans "Emblems")). The girls took up most of the space close to the stage (for obvious reasons) so me and Ellen hung in the back and chatted with the Moms and Dads while the opener plowed through French-Vanilla original songs and Bruno Mars covers (shutter). It was unclear if the mob of girls actually knew this guy's songs or were just getting in their practice shrieks before Emblem3 took he stage.
Once the opener cleared off the stage, Emblem3's backup band began to set up. As opposed to most boy bands, Emblem3 started off as these three boys writing and performing their own songs. So while the concert was essentially their backing band and them as the three lead singers, it felt more like an actual band than just your cookie-cutter boy band. The boys even grabbed their own guitars at one point and played a few songs sans backing band which was pretty cool for a boy-band-esqe musical group (In fact, Emblem3 shuns the notion of being a "Boy Band" for just this reason. Up until they blew up they wrote and played all their own songs). Anyway, once anyone took stage the girls started back their screaming, the pinnacle being when the sound guy got on stage to do the sound check with the mics and the girls were actually screaming for the sound check guy. It was incredible.
Then the Emblem3 boys themselves took the stage (Keaton (16), Drew (20), and Wesley (19) from left to right in the picture above (also worth nothing, Keaton and Wesley are brothers)) and good lord did the small females go crazy. They were throwing stuffed animals on stage, holding up signs, and generally losing their minds. It was kind of beautiful. And what made it even batter was that Emblem3 put on a really good show. They played their hits that all the Emblems know and love, they covered Matisyahu and Sublime (which one of the Dads I was standing next too was very excited about), and interacted with the crowd in the perfect way.
Wesley kept changing his hats (Fitted hats are his "thing") and each time he threw his old one into the crowd, Keaton engaged in playful banter with audience members close to his age, and Wesley also kept taking girls phones then taking pictures/videos of himself and the crowd then giving them back (which was awesome and hilarious). Drew also had a box of sunglasses and hats he was throwing into the crowd and they were going so crazy for him I swear, when he ran out of stuff to throw he held out the box to show the crowd it was empty and girls were still screaming for him to throw the empty cardboard box to them. Thankfully (or maybe unfortunately) he did not.
Alas, the time for their final song came, but wait...they hadn't yet played "Sunset Blvd," their biggest single and the one that brought them into the public consciousness on the X-factor! You know what that means...encore time. However, the young females in the crowd were not well versed in encore etiquette and did not really know how to call for a proper encore. Eventually they got chants going and Emblem3 came back out to play "Sunset Blvd" to everyone (including my) delight. Not only that but the followed that up with a cover of Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life" which got me super pumped. It was a high-energy, fun time for all and they even followed their encore with a second encore that consisted only on them dancing, ripping of their shirts and doing cartwheels on stage while the backing band continued to play the backing to "Semi-Charmed Life." It was wonderful.
All in all the concert was more than I could have ever expected. However the most heartwarming part may have been on the train ride home when Ellen and I saw a young girl (probably 12 or so) riding the train with her mom home from the concert (we could tell because she had on an Emblem3 shirt and looked exhausted). This girl probably does not go to many concerts (I'd bet this was her first or second) and by her t-shirt I can assume that at this moment Emblem3 was her favorite anything in the anything, and she just got to see them LIVE. She looked like she had just had the best night of her life and her mom looked so content to see her daughter enjoying herself. It was really nice and made me feel good about the world.
So that was that. Emblem3 provided an unexpectedly wonderful time, so shouts out to them for being so cool. Also shouts out to you for reading this far, you're a trooper. Holler at me in the comment section or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wanna, otherwise peace out.
(Here's another Emblem3 vid, cause why not)